Category Archives: Nikola Tesla

Drunk History – Nikola Tesla (video)

I wonder how much more (and more accurate) detail this guy would get when sober. And how much less most other people would be able to say when sober….

Happy Birthday Nikola Tesla!

Three years ago it was a big round number.
This year, it’s the Google logo:

Tesla – still an inspiration

Guru alerts me to a sweet article about Nikola Tesla and how he is inspiring writers and artists – Tesla Slept Here by Mark Singer in the latest New Yorker :

The Tesla saga has provided fodder for an opera, a play, and several biographies. Standing in the lobby the other day, Kinney mentioned that he had been contacted not long ago by a woman named Natasa Drakula (from that family), who was interested in making a film about artists who were inspired by Tesla. Among the most recent is Samantha Hunt, whose novel “The Invention of Everything Else” will be published next month. Its plot, not easily condensed, involves Tesla, a hotel chambermaid named Louisa, her father and his best friend, a semi-functional time machine, a mysterious visitor from the future, and a white pigeon who is the object of Tesla’s most ardent affection.

Read the whole thing.


From here (hat-tip).

Happy birthday, Nikola Tesla

This day, Tesla’s birthday, is proposed to become the Global Energy Independence Day. Let’s make it happen!
If you don’t know much about Tesla, my last years’ post about him may be of some help….

iPhone, youPhone, he/she/itPhone, wePhone, youPhone, theyPhone…

For a blogger – by definition on the cutting edge of technology – I am quite a Luddite. Perhaps that is too strong a term and I should rather call myself a “patient techno-skeptic”.
I watch the development of new technologies with interest, but I almost never get any kind of visceral excitement “I Have To Have This! Now!”
There is always a lot of experimenting going on and the Darwinian forces of the market ruthlessly destroy almost every new gizmo and gadget within a year or two. After a while, the dust settles, and one particular system or gadget becomes the universal standard – it gets perfected, it gets made easy to use by technidiots like me, it becomes cheap and it becomes a neccessity. And then it lasts for a decade or more. VHS won and remained for decades, until DVD replaced it. There were vinyls for decades, then audio tapes ruled for decades, then CDs for a decade and now MP3s.
So, my strategy is to wait for the dust to settle, see what is the new standard, evaluate soberly if I really need it, then buy the best one on the market.
I never got excited about hybrid cars, always feeling that they were a transitional technology. But I got excited about the Tesla Roadster. Will I buy it as soon as available? Of course not (even if I could afford it). I’ll wait until it becomes a standard, everyone makes something like it, the product gets perfected, ubiqutous (with a global supporting structure) and cheap. Then I’ll buy the best one on the market at the time, unless the dream of a carless society comes about first!
It took a long time for me to relinquish my old trusted Fujica SLR camera for a digital Olympus. I waited until it became obvious which technology was dead, and which was here to stay, skipping over all the intermediates and false-starts in the meantime.
So, I never bought a Palm Pilot, or a Blackberry, or an iPod, or a cell phone, or a lap-top, or a hybrid car. There was always a sense of ‘unfinished business’ about all of those devices. I never had the feeling that any of those gadgets were going to be durable winners of the technological race. There was something clumsy about each one of them and just so much to carry around and worry about and potentially lose. I found serious-looking guys with toolbelts packed with gizmos ridiculously funny!
I have been waiting for someone to design one small, easy-to-use gadget that will do all those things, do them well, be easy to use, be cheap and be universal. I just have a feeling that the iPhone is the first prototype of that kind of technology. Will I buy it in June? No. It looks supercool, but it is too expensive, too new and not universal enough yet. I’ll wait for the glitches to be fixed, for upgrades to be made, for competition to gear up and try to do better, for the price to go down, and for demands for more openness and choice (e.g., of the phone provider) to become available. Then, I will buy the best such gizmo on the market.
And even then, the phone will be switched off except at times I want to use it – which will be very rare. I need to be incommunicado except at times when I want to be reachable. Send me an e-mail and I’ll respond on my time, on my terms. I am not here to serve you at the moment’s notice whenever you want to talk. We can negotiate a time for such things that is OK to both of us.
So, you can check some early responses to the iPhone here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, and there is a picture under the fold:

Continue reading

Who? Me jealous? Why?

It came to me so naturally – no big thinking involved, no tweaking the results, this is who I am:
I'm Nicola Tesla! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

The missing secrets of Nikola Tesla

It’s 45 minutes long, but it is worth your time:



I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out since April. Now, it is not playing in the theater up the street. Perhaps I’ll have to go elsewhere, driving, finding parking…but see it I will!

Nikola Tesla

Everything you ever wanted to know about Tesla, you can find here – an amazing collection of links.

Happy Birthday Nikola Tesla!

Today is the 150th birthday of Nikola Tesla. Here is an attempt to put in one place as much as can be found about the celebrations of his birthday and birth-year, the information about Tesla, the mentions in the media and on blogs, etc. I will keep updating this post throughout the day so, please, if you know of something I missed, or if you have seen (or written yourself) a blogpost related to Tesla, please let me know by e-mail or in the comments so I can check it out and perhaps include it in this post.
TITLETesla’s birthday in the media
A good article in Globe and Mail: “Lighting up the world – again”.
From fishing rods to death rays: the man who invented the 20th Century
Remembering ‘the man who lit the world’
Tesla’s theories remain current
In Balkans, sparks still fly on Tesla anniversary
After years of neglect, Nikola Tesla is ‘in’ in Croatia
B92: Tesla celebrated today
Reuters: Croats, Serbs unite to hail Tesla’s genius
B92: Tesla belongs to all of humankind
TITLEBuzz in the blogosphere
Tesla has a MySpace page which has a blog which is informative, e.g., about the unveiling of the new Tesla monument on Niagara Falls.
Archy wrote not one but two posts today, both substantive and both with a personal touch: Five million Teslas and Happy birthday, Nick.
Nick Anthis takes a look at MRIs roots in Tesla’s inventions.
Madison Guy recommends another book that has Tesla as a character (OK, I am going to put that one on my Amazon wish list as well) and notes a street in his town.
The Greenbelt marks the anniversary.
Eva of Easternblot marks the birthday and suggests we all watch this movie scene.
Neural Gourmet has a movie.
Tyler wrote a column.
This guy from Belgrade clears up Tesla’s nationality. Bozinovic does the same: Using a genius for ethnic defamation
Alex, Elayne, Kyle, Michael, Eduardo, Sini and PZ join in the celebration.
Basil, Steinn, Monado, Mister Spark, Babbler, Bob and Runner-D join in the celebration.
Beyond Self-Interest, or, Some Initial Thoughts on Re-imagining the Possibilities of the Open Source Movement:

Edison’s biography canbe understood as an example of the paucity of such myths. His patenting of Tesla’s inventions is a fine example of the problematic history of the legal minefield of capitalist self-interest. How different would our ideas of energy be if these two had collaborated rather than competed?

Here is a cool animation.
Tess is a dog named after Nikola Tesla. And this cat’s name is Tesla
Whit and Adam went to Niagara Falls and took a picture of Tesla’s monument.
Dan Ford is a big fan of Tesla and in this post provides some excellent links and quotes.
My Hero Project
Do you want to go to Tesla’s birthday party in Vermont? It is at this guy’s place.
World Tales: Nikola Tesla Airport
Jason Bellows finds it Damn Interesting
The Sidekick is a fan. And here is another fan and another one.
Strange Culture did a little research.
More links here and here.
TITLECelebrations and Events
There are many events scheduled for this year and this week in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Australia, Canada and the USA. Let’s start with Belgrade:
On the 9th, delegation of the Serbian Government and the guests will visit the Tesla Museum. At 4pm there will be the opening ceremony of the “150 years of Nikola Tesla” exhibit in the building of the Belgrade City Council. At 6:30pm, the premiere of the opera “Violet Fire” is scheduled.
Central event in Belgrade will be a ceremony in Sava Center on the 10th at 8pm, sponsored by the Serbian Government. As guests, there will be many scientists, politicians from around the world and representatives of many political, social, cultural, religious, scientific and business organizations from Serbia and abroad.
Also on the 10th, there will be unveiling of the new monument of Nikola Tesla at 3pm at the Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport. The monument will be unveiled despite the negative recommendations of two separate art committees who rejected the statue as extremely poorely done and ugly.
Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica will host a banquet at 6pm in the Federation Palace.
On Tuesday the 11th at 9:30am, National Bank of Serbia will promote and put into distribution new coins and postage stamps. On Kalemegdan at 9pm, there will be a performance “Octet for violin, cello, string quartet, two computers and two Tesla coils”. On the same spot at 10pm, there will be a musical spectacle “Along with Tesla’s Thoughts”.
On 9th on the Republic Square, the Pinocchio Theater will put a puppet play “Fairy Tale About Electricity” and at the same place on the 10th and 11th, from 12 noon till 9pm, audience will be able to see the “Radio Light Cluster” show.
In Novi Sad, on July 11th at noon, the new book, “Tesla’s Correspondence” will be promoted in Matica Srpska.
Among the dignitaries expected to be present at various events, there will be the European comissioner for the Environment and the European comissioner for Science.
Eurocenter gallery in Belgrade has an art exhibit Tesla – in paintings by Serbian artists.
In September, there will be a scientific conference in Belgrade about Tesla. Radio-Television of Serbia will air a number of science education programs as well as shows about the life and work of Tesla.
The Techonology Fair at the Belgrade Fairgrounds last month was also Tesla-themed.
In Croatia, there was a scientific conference about Tesla. There is supposed to be a big event in his birthplace Smiljan as well. Please let me know more so I can post here.
From an article in Scotsman (subscription only):

“One reason for Tesla’s transformation from non-person to national hero in Croatia is the European Union, which wants the country to show gestures of reconciliation toward its Serbs as a condition for joining the prosperous club of democracies.
The government has spent $8.75 million turning his house into a museum, and the presidents of Croatia and Serbia will come together to dedicate it Monday on the anniverary of his birth.
On Friday a new statue of Tesla was unveiled in Zagreb, the Croatian capital, and two more are planned.
Parliament has declared 2006 to be Tesla’s year, and his motto – “equally proud of my Serb origin and my Croatian homeland” – has become a mantra. A recent poll chose him as Croatia’s “greatest son.”
An art exhibit in Zagreb reminds Croatians that only recently they were trampling Tesla’s memory, and pokes fun at their “new political correctness.” One exhibit is a design for a Tesla monument made from the rubble of the real one.

There is supposed to be a new monument unveiled at Niagara Falls. Any other events in Canada, Australia and the US? If oyu know more, let me know so I can update.
July 10th of every year is supposed to be the Energy Independence Day.
TITLEBusts and Monuments
A bust of Tesla was recently unveiled at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. It is one of many copies of a bust made by 3d and 4th graders and given to various US Universities so Tesla does not remain forgotten. Please click on that last link and keep on clicking “Next” at the bottom of each page to read all 16 pages of an incredible story.
A new monument for Tesla has just been unveiled in Zagreb, Croatia.
Also new monuments in Belgrade, Niagara Falls and, I believe, in Smiljan. Anywhere else?
Monuments of Tesla already exist. The Ivan Mestrovic statue is in front of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Belgrade and an exact replika is at Niagara Falls.
TITLETesla’s legacy in the Balkans
If you ask people on the street to name the greatest scientist of all times, most will pick Einstein. Depending on the longitude and latitude where you are standing, some passers-by may instead go for Newton, Darwin, Curie or Hawking. In all parts of ex-Yugoslavia, the only answer is Nikola Tesla. He is the “greatest Serb in the history of the world”, he is on postage stamps and on money. There are schools and streets named after him in every decent-sized city. He has no competition there. Not even Rudjer Boscovic, Andreja Milankovic and Josif Pancic can come close, let alone Einstein.
Here is an interesting article on the fate of Tesla’s legacy in Croatia:
Tesla, electricity pioneer, is symbol of division and reconciliation in his native land:

SMILJAN, Croatia – The world knows Nikola Tesla as a pioneer of electrical power. But in his native Balkans, he is a symbol of ethnic strife. Now the 150th anniversary of his birth is serving as a force for healing.
As an ethnic Serb born in Croatia, Tesla’s memory became a subject of bitter contention in the 1990s when the breakup of Yugoslavia triggered a war between Serbs and Croats that killed thousands.
A naturalized U.S. citizen, his statue stands at Niagara Falls in tribute to his role in bringing electricity to America. But his statue in Croatia was blown up and the house where he grew up fell into ruin. His portrait, which had graced a Yugoslav bank note, was left off the new Croatian currency.
The crowning irony for war-battered Croatia is that hundreds of villages around Smiljan, his native town have no electricity.

Most definitely read the rest of the article – it’s quite eye-opening.
A couple of months ago, Belgrade Airport (for decades known as Surchin, after the village next to which it was built) has been renamed the Nikola Tesla Airport – a much better and long-lasting choice than naming it after a politician who may get forgotten or go out of favour.
I have already written about Violet Fire, the new multi-media opera opening in Belgrade on the 9th.
A Wilderness of Monkeys discovered four different operas about Tesla:Tesla: Lightning in His Hand, Tesla, Nikola Tesla and of course, the currently most exciting one – Violet Fire.
Andrei Codrescu talked about Violet Fire on NPR back in March.
Brilliant (pdf) is also a play about Tesla.
University Theaters at UWA (Western Australia) is putting up another play about Tesla.
Handsome Family wrote a song Tesla’s Hotel Room which appears in their latest CD. And of course there is a band named Tesla.
Prestige is going to be the big Tesla event this year. Tesla is played by David Bowie.
And there is another movie project. Can someone tell me more about it?
Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla : Biography of a Genius by Marc J. Seifer and Tesla : Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney are two best biographies of Tesla.
My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla is a must-read for every Tesla-file.
Tesla, a 1956 book reprinted in 2003 by the Tesla Museum is a heavy volume containing a lot of Tesla patents, lectures, articles and documents.
Tesla appears as a supporting character in Prestige by Christopher Priest, but will likely play a more central role in the movie produced after the book.
All of the above books are also on my wish list. Beware, there are also books about Tesla that are bad, really bad, written by pseudoscientific quacks!
As soon as I heard about the Five Fists Of Science, I pre-ordered it. I remembered it once I got an e-mail form Amazon that the book is being shipped. I promptly read it and reviewed it.
Jennifer Ouliette wrote a much better review of it. And here is another review of Five Fists of Science. And this one is hopefully fothcoming.
Tesla also appears in Moon Palace by Paul Auster.
TITLEOnline Resources
Tesla Museum in Belgrade is the best resource on him in the world. You can take a virtual tour of the museum to see more.
Tesla’s page in Wikipedia is pretty good and has, on the bottom, a nice collection of links to other good resources.
Tesla Memorial Society webpage appears not to have been updated in a while, but archives contain some interesting stuff. Tesla Society appears to be better.
Here is another decent webpage about Tesla.
An 1899 interview with Tesla.
Frank Germano’s website is an excellent resource as well.
TITLETesla as a person
Dr.Zarko Trebjesanin, professor of psychology at the University of Belgrade has written a book about Tesla’s personality which just came out in Belgrade. He also wrote a short summary in a Belgrade newspaper, which I translated for you here.
An interesting biography
Here is another look at him as a person: Getting Acquainted with the Famous Nikola Tesla
This is more about Mark Twain, but Tesla and his lab figure prominently at the end of the article.
TITLETesla and Pigeons
I have written before about the special connection between Tesla and the pigeons in Bryant Park so go there for more links, interesting facts, images and art. If you like that particular painting, you can get T-shirts, mugs and other stuff with it here.
Click on the picture to enlarge.
TITLETesla’s science
Wikipedia has a list of Tesla’s Patents.
You can also watch this movie (42 minutes) about the Niagara hydroelectric plant:

There is a lot of Tesla in the history of radio and the history of moving pictures.
TITLEPseudoscience in Tesla’s name
This is interesting:

The order specialised in an unusual mixture of avantgarde technology and magical ritual partly based, or so it claimed in the pages of its official organ Saturn Gnosis, on the theories of Nikola Tesla. Aller himself had not postulated a new theory; in his article A Fairytale of Electricity, published on September 9, 1915 in Manufacturers’ Record, Tesla wrote: “The records, though scanty, are of a nature to fill us with conviction that a few initiated, at least, had a deeper knowledge of amber phenomena. To mention one, Moses was undoubtedly a practical and skillful electrician far in advance of his time. The Bible describes precisely, and minutely, arrangements constituting a machine in which electricity was generated by friction of air against silk curtains, and stored in a box constructed like a condenser. It is very plausible to assume that the sons of Aaron were killed by a high-tension discharge, and that the vestal fires of the Romans were electrical.”

A Fairytale of Electricity? Was it a parody? Can someone find this article? Update – Well, I just did – here it is. Do YOU think it should be taken seriously? No, I didn’t think so….
There is a thread on Internet Infidels about “Death Rays” and what Tesla could and could not do at the time.
Did Tesla make an electric car with a mysterious source of power? For the gullible only.
TITLEQuotes from Tesla
I have collected some of Tesla’s quotes in three previous posts:
TITLEWynderclyffe Tower
Probably the best resource is the page of The Tesla Wardenclyffe Project.
This blogger named his LiveJournal Wardenclyffe Tower.
TITLETesla electric car
Tesla Roadster is creating quite a buzz – too many links to include all here, so check out Roxanne for a taste.
N&O: Inventing vroom with virtue

Quotes Of The Day – Tesla

Today’s Quotes of the Day:

Nikola Tesla was born at Smiljan in the Lika region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, an area now in Croatia. After studying electrical engineering at the Austrian Polytechnic at Graz, Austria he became the chief electrician at the phone company in Budapest, then worked for Continental Edison at Paris. His supervisor there gave him a letter of recommendation which Tesla presented to Thomas Edison in 1884, the letter said only “I know two great men and you are one of them; the other is this young man.” When Edison failed to honor a promised incentive award, Tesla left and ended up working with George Westinghouse. Tesla didn’t win fame or fortune, but his work was far more influential in modern life than that of Edison, Marconi, and a host of others whose names are better known.
I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success…. Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.
So astounding are the facts in this connection, that it would seem as though the Creator, himself had electrically designed this planet.
The practical success of an idea, irrespective of its inherent merit, is dependent on the attitude of the contemporaries. If timely it is quickly adopted; if not, it is apt to fare like a sprout lured out of the ground by warm sunshine, only to be injured and retarded in its growth by the succeeding frost.
The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.
If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.
– All from Nikola Tesla, 1856 – 1943

Tesla birthday tomorrow

Dont’ forget to write something about Tesla tomorrow for his 150th birthday. If you do, please send me the URL so I can include it in a kind of a carnival-like linkfest for this occasion.

Violet Fire – the Tesla Opera

As I have noted before, there is an opera about Tesla, called Violet Fire in preperation for the grand opening in the Belgrade’s National Theater on July 9th, on the eve of 150th birthday of Nikola Tesla. I have since received a little bit more information about it. Here I translated some snippets from Belgrade press:
Violet Fire (“Ljubicasta Vatra”) is a multi-media opera composed by John Gibson. It was co-produced by by Belgrade’s summer festival BELEF and American non-profit organization Violet Fire. Director is Terry O’Reilly.
The conductor, Ana Zorana Brajovic told reporters that there is no classical operatic singing in this minimalistic opera and that the text – libreto written by Miriam Zeidel – is of a much greater importance.
The opera is happening in Bryant Park in New York City, close to Tesla’s end of life. Through communication between Tesla and his favourite white dove, the libreto showcases Tesla’s free imagination and intuitive connection to the mysteries of nature.
The cast includes Scott Murphy (guest from the USA) and Belgrade soloists Darko Đorđevic, Dragana Tomic, Mirjana Jovanovic, Nenad Nenic, Predrag Milanovic, Dragana Stankovic, Nataša Jovic Trivic, Ivan Tomasev, Miodrag Mika Jovanovic and others.
Violet Fire will also be on stage on July 13, 14 and 15th.
I am in Belgrade because this is the country of Nikola Tesla and I am very happy that the world premiere of Violet Fire will be held here, said the director Terry O’Reilly, ina short exclusive interview with Belgrade’s BLIC magazine.
Asked who was Nikola Tesla, he said: Tesla was a person like you or me. But Tesla as a scientist was spiritiually and intelectually without limits. His life went beyond a totoal accomplishment of an individual – he created something useful for all the people.
What is it you particulalry insist on an why?
It is very important that he was an Orthodox Serb. Tesla was a very spiritual and religious man just like all his ancestors – his father was an Orthodox priest. That is why he lived his life not to become famous but to make the world better. During my stay in Belgrade, these things became clearer to me than while I was in the States.
What is it that you are trying to convey to teh audience with this show?
The message is what I just said. I have spent almost a year in Belgrade and during that time understood what it is – Tesla’s spirituality, his background, his connection to the ancestors and the whole Universe. I often say that we woudl need many lives just in order to understand his unusual and unique life.
I would so like to be there and see it. Unfortunately, this is impossible. So, if anyone in Belgrade goes and watches the opera, please let me know – I’ll post your review here! If not, the opera will be seen again on October 18, 20 and 21 at the Brooklyn Academy Music Festival in NYC.

Nikola Tesla Quotes, Vol.3

“Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the betterment of humanity.”
“Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.”
“Even matter called inorganic, believed to be dead, responds to irritants and gives unmistakable evidence of a living principle within. Everything that exists, organic or inorganic, animated or inert, is susceptible to stimulus from the outside.”
On Invention: “It is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.”
“Like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagrams of my motor. A thousand secrets of nature which I might have stumbled upon accidentally I would have given for that one which I had wrestled from her against all odds and at the peril of my existence.”
“Before I put a sketch on paper, the whole idea is worked out mentally. In my mind I change the construction, make improvements, and even operate the device. Without ever having drawn a sketch I can give the measurements of all parts to workmen, and when completed all these parts will fit, just as certainly as though I had made the actual drawings. It is immaterial to me whether I run my machine in my mind or test it in my shop. The inventions I have conceived in this way have always worked. In thirty years there has not been a single exception. My first electric motor, the vacuum wireless light, my turbine engine and many other devices have all been developed in exactly this way.”
“George Westinghouse was a man with tremendous potential energy of which only part had taken kinetic form. Like a lion in the forest, he breathed deep and with delight the smoky air of his Pittsburgh factories. Always affable and polite, he stood in marked contrast to the small-minded financiers I had been trying to negotiate with before I met him. Yet, no fiercer adversary could have been found when aroused. Westinghouse welcomed the struggle and never lost confidence. When others would give up in despair, he triumphed.”
On Voltaire: “I had a veritable mania for finishing whatever I began, which often got me into difficulties. On one occasion I started to read the works of Voltaire when I learned, to my dismay, that there were close on one hundred large volumes in small print which that monster had written while drinking seventy-two cups of black coffee per diem. It had to be done, but when I laid aside the last book I was very glad, and said, “Never more!” (Nikola Tesla, “My Inventions: the autobiography of Nikola Tesla”, Hart Bros., 1982. Originally appeared in the Electrical experimenter magazine in 1919.)
“In our dynamo machines, it is well known, we generate alternate currents which we direct by means of a commutator, a complicated device and, it may be justly said, the source of most of the troubles experienced in the operation of the machines. Now, the currents, so directed cannot be utilized in the motor, but must – again by means of a similar unreliable device – be reconverted into their original state of alternate currents. The function of the commutator is entirely external, and in no way does it affect the internal workings of the machines. In reality, therefore, all machines are alternate current machines, the currents appearing as continuous only in the external circuit during the transfer from generator to motor. In view simply of this fact, alternate currents would commend themselves as a more direct application of electrical energy, and the employment of continuous currents would only be justified if we had dynamos which would primarily generate, and motors which would be directly actuated by, such currents.” (Adopted from T.C. Martin, “The Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla,” New Work: Electrical Engineer, 1894, pp. 9-11.)
Frank Germano
Quote of the Day

Nikola Tesla Quotes, Vol.2

“Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.”
“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” (Modern Mechanics and Inventions. July, 1934)
“The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of a planter — for the future. His duty is to lay foundation of those who are to come and point the way.”
“Universal peace as a result of cumulative effort through centuries past might come into existence quickly — not unlike a crystal that suddenly forms in a solution which has been slowly prepared.”
“The practical success of an idea, irrespective of its inherent merit, is dependent on the attitude of the contemporaries. If timely it is quickly adopted; if not, it is apt to fare like a sprout lured out of the ground by warm sunshine, only to be injured and retarded in its growth by the succeeding frost.”
“My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get a new idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination, and make improvements and operate the device in my mind. When I have gone so far as to embody everything in my invention, every possible improvement I can think of, and when I see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form the final product of my brain.”
On Marconi: “The greatest men of science have told me [the Tesla coil] was my best achievement. . . . For instance, a man fills this space with hydrogen; he employs all my instrumentalities, everything that is necessary, but calls it a new wireless system–I cannot stop it. Another man puts in here a kind of gap. He gets a Nobel prize for it. . . . The inventive effort involved is about the same as that of which a 30-year old mule is capable.”
On George Westinghouse: “George Westinghouse was, in my opinion, the only man on this globe who could take my alternating-current system under the circumstances then existing and win the battle against prejudice and money power. He was a pioneer of imposing stature, one of the world’s true nobleman of whom America may well be proud and to whom humanity owes an immense debt of gratitude.” (Speech, Institute of Immigrant Welfare, Hotel Baltimore, New York, May 12, 1938, read in absentia.)
“We are confronted with portentous problems which can not be solved just by providing for our material existence, however abundantly. On the contrary, progress in this direction is fraught with hazards and perils not less menacing than those born from want and suffering. If we were to release the energy of the atoms or discover some other way of developing cheap and unlimited power at any point of the globe this accomplishment, instead of being a blessing, might bring disaster to mankind… The greatest good will come from the technical improvements tending to unification and harmony, and my wireless transmitter is preeminently such. By its means the human voice and likeness will be reproduced everywhere and factories driven thousands of miles from waterfalls furnishing the power; aerial machines will be propelled around the earth without a stop and the sun’s energy controlled to create lakes and rivers for motive purposes and transformation of arid deserts into fertile land…” (Nikola Tesla, “My Inventions: the autobiography of Nikola Tesla”, Hart Bros., 1982. Originally appeared in the Electrical experimenter magazine in 1919.)
Frank Germano
Quote of the Day

Nikola Tesla Quotes, Vol.1

“The last 29 days of the month [are] the hardest.”
“Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.” (Modern Mechanics and Inventions, July, 1934)
“The spread of civilisation may be likened to a fire; First, a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.”
“I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success… Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.”
“Of all the frictional resistance, the one that most retards human movement is ignorance, what Buddha called “the greatest evil in the world.” The friction which results from ignorance can be reduced only by the spread of knowledge and the unification of the heterogeneous elements of humanity. No effort could be better spent.”
“No matter what we attempt to do, no matter to what fields we turn our efforts, we are dependent on power. We have to evolve means of obtaining energy from stores which are forever inexhaustible, to perfect methods which do not imply consumption and waste of any material whatever. If we use fuel to get our power, we are living on our capital and exhausting it rapidly. This method is barbarous and wantonly wasteful and will have to be stopped in the interest of coming generations.”
On Edison: “If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.” (New York Times, October 19, 1931.)
On Mark Twain: “I had hardly completed my course at the Real Gymnasium when I was prostrated with a dangerous illness or rather, a score of them, and my condition became so desperate that I was given up by physicians. During this period I was permitted to read constantly, obtaining books from the Public Library which had been neglected and entrusted to me for classification of the works and preparation of the catalogues. One day I was handed a few volumes of new literature unlike anything I had ever read before and so captivating as to make me utterly forget my hopeless state. They were the earlier works of Mark Twain and to them might have been due the miraculous recovery which followed. Twenty-five years later, when I met Mr. Clemens and we formed a friendship between us, I told him of the experience and was amazed to see that great man of laughter burst into tears.” (Nikola Tesla, “My Inventions: the autobiography of Nikola Tesla”, Hart Bros., 1982. Originally appeared in the Electrical experimenter magazine in 1919.)
“War cannot be avoided until the physical cause for its recurrence is removed and this, in the last analysis, is the vast extent of the planet on which we live. Only through annihilation of distance in every respect, as the conveyance of intelligence, transport of passengers and supplies and transmission of energy will conditions be brought about some day, insuring permanency of friendly relations. What we now want is closer contact and better understanding between individuals and communities all over the earth, and the elimination of egoism and pride which is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife… Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment…” (Nikola Tesla, “My Inventions: the autobiography of Nikola Tesla”, Hart Bros., 1982. Originally appeared in the Electrical experimenter magazine in 1919.)
Frank Germano
Quote of the Day

Nikola Tesla’s Personality

This is a quick, rough translation of an article that ran in a Serbian newspaper a few days ago. It is written by a professor of psychology at the University of Belgrade, Prof.Dr.Zarko Trebjesanin, whose book about psychology of Tesla just got published in Belgrade. Posthumous psychoanalyzing is always suspect, but it is usually harmless and fun:

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Tesla links of the day

Apparently, there is yet another movie made about Tesla this year.
Violet Fire Opera is an opera about Tesla. It will open in National Theater in Belgrade on July 10th.
There is some stuff about the history of radio and moving pictures. Both essays mention Tesla’s contributions.
Tesla Roadster is creating quite a buzz. I wish I could afford it. Perhaps the Model II will be a little cheaper.
A new livejournal takes it’s name after Tesla’s tower – Wardenclyffe Tower.
The best source on everything Tesla is the Tesla Museum in Belgrade.
And here is another fan.
Check the links to previous posts about Tesla here, here and here.

Approaching Tesla’s birthday – the buzz in the blogosphere

Check out the Brief Look at the Life of Nikola Tesla on Strange Culture.
The Genius Of Persistence
What is Tesla Press?
If you are in Burlington, VT on July 9th, you can go to the mad Tesla birthday party. It’s at this guy’s place.
Carnegie Mellon University unveils bust of great inventor Tesla.
And at UWA, they are putting on a play.
Another person is going to read the Five Fists of Science.
And another one.
Here’s another fan.
This ie very interesting about Mark Twain, including a photo of him playing with electricity in Tesla’s lab.
This cats’ name is Tesla.
Getting Acquainted with the Famous Nikola Tesla
Check the links to previous posts about Tesla here and here.

Nikola Tesla – approaching the Big Anniversary

The big day – 150th anniversary of the birth of Nikola Tesla – is approaching fast – July 10th.
I am sure that I will remind you of this a couple of more times until then – I have a couple of posts about him in the making – but first look at the older posts in which I have mentioned him so far….[more under the fold]

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Five Fists of Science

Can it get any better than this! The Five Fists of Science, starring Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla in a race to save the world from Thomas Edison and J.P Morgan! I immediatelly pre-ordered the book and can’t wait to read it. 5fistsofscience.jpg
Update: I just got an e-mail from Amazon that the book is finally out and that my copy has been shipped. I’ll be able to read it just in time for the celebration of Tesla’s 150th birthday on July 10th.
(Hat-tip: Science Librarian, via Boing Boing)